Someone wrote me a while back and said that I or Rob needed to get a full-time job. I guess they didn’t recognize doing music as a full-time job. I’d like them to shadow me for just a week and see just how full time this job is. On some level I get where they’re coming from. I chose to stop running the corporate rat race and do my own thing. That choice has pros and cons. Sometimes I wake up and find out that a gig has been cancelled and that money will not be rolling in like I thought it would. Some mornings I wake up with a nasty sinus infection and can’t do the gig I had committed to doing and that money won’t come rolling in. When I don’t show up for work, whether it’s my fault or someone else’s, I don’t get paid. There’s no paid vacation or paid sick leave. There aren’t any employment benefits and there are no assurances in this business. If you’re not careful, you can be rolling in dough one day and can’t rub two quarters together the next. That’s the incentive to getting a ‘real’ job. There’s more stability.
But how real is it?
The reality of it is that no one in this world has any assurances but death. If you work a corporate job, you too can be laid off at a moment’s notice. You’re not immune to having a major accident that can put you out of work and into a mountain load of medical debt. You can be miserable and stressed out for every single day you show up for your ‘real’ job and shave years off of your life as a result. You can give away your time to this job that will have no problems replacing you if the time should come. Spending over half of your waking hours day after day punching in a time clock and making someone else millions while you settle for thousands? Ultimately, what you’re doing is selling your lifetime for money. Can you see that? Can you see that this is your reality? If you can see that and that’s the choice you make, surely you can understand why I make the choice I make.
No disrespect, but I’d rather make a different reality for myself. The choices you make are yours and I respect that. But you must also respect my choices and not try to denigrate my decisions. I want a reality where I show up for work doing something that I want to do; that I’m actually passionate about. I want to have the flexibility to travel and enjoy my life on my own terms. I make a reality where I make my own money and decide how I will spend my time. I don’t want to have to ask Mr. So and So for time off. I don’t want to have to plan my vacations around dates I’m permitted to go. I love the opportunity to see movie matinees in the middle of the week while the rest of the world is out working. I love taking a few hours during the day to spend time in my garden. There are so many things I’ve done and places I’ve gone where I said to myself, ‘Man, I wouldn’t be able to do this if I had a corporate job!’ That’s my incentive to breaking the corporate American dream idea. I get to live my own.
Are there drawbacks to being an artist or yoga instructor or writer or whatever other dream you want to live besides doing the corporate thing? Yes. There are tough choices to be made. The main concession I’ve made to live my own dream is building a tiny house and reducing my financial burden so that I can live the life I want to live. To be honest, I’ve been living in a tiny house long enough that I don’t even notice the difference. It’s home to me. When people ask me what it’s like living in a tiny house, I don’t even have an answer. It’s like living in any other house. There’s really no difference to me. I absolutely love the freedom it allows. I can’t imagine doing anything else right now except for what I’m doing. I’m truly grateful to be able to work doing something I love and get paid to do it. I wish I would have figured this out a long time ago. There’s a place in the world for artists. To all the folks telling people they need to get a ‘real’ job, can you imagine what the world would be like if there were no artists, zumba instructors, actors, life coaches, preachers, missionaries, musicians, crafters, and so on? Imagine if all of these people abandoned their passions so that they can get a ‘real’ job. What would the world be like. The art that you escape to in order to get a little bit of freedom from your ‘real’ job would no longer exist.
So when you tell me to get a ‘real’ job, in my mind, you’re actually telling me to abandon my passion and sell my time for money. And my answer to that is…
A ‘real’ job is not my definition of freedom.
This video couldn’t have said it any better.